Unrest In Denver Schools Leads To Student Walkout

Unrest In Denver Schools Leads To Student Walkout

More than twelve-hundred students and teachers staged walkouts in the Denver area on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week in response to a Jefferson County School Board hearing in which Julie Williams, a member of the school board, proposed a system in which Advanced Placement History curricula be reviewed thoroughly. The reviews, according to Williams, would be present in order to make sure that the topic of U.S. History be presented in a manner in which the United States is shown in a positive light. Williams says that the goal of the review system is to develop materials that “promote citizenship, patriotism … (and) respect for authority” and not “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.”

 

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored,” the Aldous Huxley quote reads, on a sign held up by a protesting high schooler. Students across Colorado organized protests through social media after hearing of the proposed curriculum change, enraged at the idea of “censoring critical points in history,” Casey McAndrew, a protesting senior at one of the local high schools says, “I understand that they want to take out our very important history of slavery and dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because it portrays the U.S. in a negative light,” Ben Murky says “The censorship of U.S. history is wrong, and I think it’s pretty communist.”

 

Along with students, nearly 50 teachers called in sick on the days of the protests. Jefferson County superintendent Dan McMinimee spoke with groups of students, teachers, and parents at several high schools in the area, attempting to calm the discontent. McMinimee tried to drive the point that the decision has not been made yet, that it was merely a proposal into student heads. McMinimee said in one instance “I think some students think this is a done deal when, in fact, it was a discussion by our board based on a resolution that one of our board members brought forward.”

 

Students are planning a sit-in at the upcoming school board meeting on October 2nd.